House Ag Ranking Member Collin Peterson sent letters to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor Thursday saying he doesn’t see any reason for the House Ag Committee to go through the process of writing a new, five-year farm bill again in the 113th Congress unless there’s assurance from the leadership. Peterson pointed out empty promises regarding reauthorization of the federal farm safety net Boehner made three months before being elected Speaker of the House and in his 2011 inaugural address – such as letting the House work its will without fear from the battle of ideas. Peterson says despite a day-long mark-up, having the support of the Ag Committees and following the practice of regular order Boehner laid out – Republican Leadership was nothing but a stumbling block in the quest to let the House work its will on a five-year farm bill. Instead of allowing objections to certain provisions in the farm bill be aired in an open debate – Peterson says Boehner and the Republican leaders bottled up the Committee’s farm bill and drafted alternatives separately without Ag Committee Chairs and members. Peterson says now is the time to look at where to go from here.
In his letter – Peterson asks Boehner for a written commitment that his leadership team will find floor time during this Congress if the committee marks-up a new five-year farm bill. He also asks the Speaker to actually let the House work its will – even if he has personal objections to the outcome. Peterson says he sees no reason why the House Ag Committee should undertake crafting another long-term farm bill if Republican Leadership refuses to consider the bipartisan work.